Not too long ago, Kerry Magro released a list called “100 People with Autism You Should Know,” with the intent of introducing autistic people and their allies to a variety of autistic advocates. Unfortunately, Magro’s list doesn’t really reflect the autistic community. Magro’s list contributes to the idea that autistic people are predominantly white men who don’t view their disability as political. This alternative list is an effort to reflect the diversity of the autistic community. I wanted to highlight fierce advocates for civil rights and inclusion that reject the idea that we must comply in order to be acceptable. You can find these trailblazing autistic activists on personal blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube and other social media.
Sometime in the next few years, a new institution will open in Delaware. Despite the New York Times and Boston Globe's pearl-clutching angst about the supposed devastating social impact of deinstitutionalization and lack of desire to consider newer, better, cleaner asylums. This institution, like many similar ones cropping up mostly unnoticed outside disabled activism in the past several years, claims to be an “intentional community of choice” offering people with disabilities more options for housing with supports in place that they might need. That rhetoric is extremely misleading at best, and outright dangerous at worst. It completely twists the meaning of the word “choice” beyond all recognition, to an extent that should make any English teacher cringe in shame. Over the past several years, I've been working on policy advocacy around a set of federal regulations known as the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Rule. This is better known as … Continue Reading ››
Over three days in mid-April, leading thinkers from across the technology sector met at SAP Labs in Palo Alto, California. The mood was urgent. The pace frantic. Conversations were ecstatic. At the end of the three-day process, technology executives emerged from their under-the-radar gathering carrying with them the models and metrics that may just prove to be a deciding factor in solving for Silicon Valley’s diversity problem. Silicon Valley’s challenges in building diverse workforces are well-documented. In 2016, Deloitte reported that only 2% of the tech workforce is black, 3% Latino, and 24% female. Difficulties in recruiting and supporting talent from underrepresented backgrounds have been met with attitudes of blissful ignorance by corporate leaders to all-out panic among public relations executives. Continue Reading ››
TS Eliot was right -- April is the cruelest month. Autism Awareness Month can be an anxious, or at least facepalm-inducing time for many autistic folks, myself included. Whether it's harebrained celebrities endorsing Autism Speaks or President Trump lighting it up blue at the White House, non-autistic people are ready to shout how very aware they are. With that in mind, here are 5 cringe-worthy autism awareness products for sale this April. These are all real things for sale on the internet. Really. 5. This shirt isn't even blue. 4. Nothing says "love" like what could easily be interpreted as a violent threat by someone very literal. Like say, an autistic person. Continue Reading ››
At a September 2016 campaign stop in Orlando, Florida, Hillary Clinton delivered her Inclusive Economies speech, which unveiled a progressive pro-disability platform. In her speech, Secretary Clinton painted a picture of an "inclusive economy that welcomes people with disabilities, values their work, and treats them with respect." By claiming progress for people with disabilities through the lens of employment and economic participation, she struck right at the heart of American inclusion. The quintessential goal of the disability advocacy movement is independent living: The opportunity to prepare for a career life, hold down a job and have agency over important decisions. As the then leader of the Democratic Party, Clinton called on all Americans to focus our energy on making this nation a better place to live for people with disabilities. Although the election results mean Clinton won't be implementing this platform, her call to action remains a priority for individuals, … Continue Reading ››